Sunday, October 12, 2008

//The Remix Though..

//I began djing in the era when the Remix was not 50 million guest rappers +2 R&B singers +1 pet poodle on your same beat (although if you put Andre 3000 on it I won't be mad). A proper remix was usually a B-Side on the 12" single and featured another producer, a reshaping of the beat, and altered or completely different lyrics (sometimes all of the above). Some fat 12" singles even had multiple Remixes on the same record.
A handful of my favorites:

1. A Tribe Called Quest "Bonita Applebum (Hootie Mix)" (Jive, 1990)
The Isleys loop is irresistible for this sequel, which was the soundtrack to Q-Tip making out with Janet in the opening scene of Poetic Justice.

2. Black Star "Respiration (Flying High Mix)" (Rawkus, 1999)

My favorite Mos/Kwe cut...while the claustrophobic LP version remains one of hip hop's transcendent moments, they did the right thing and enlisted the mighty Pete Rock to breathe fresh air into the mellowed-out remix. First Mos channels Marvin Gaye's "Flying
High (In the Friendly Sky)" on the chorus, then Talib's talking about Tip-toeing through the corridors of your mind / with candlelights, then Mos comes back in and kills with a verse of his own where every word he says should be a hip hop quotable: When the nighttime covers the city like a cloak / I approach / and assemble my hopes / into notes. The Black Stars shine so vibrantly that even Black Thought comes off as a tired and lackluster afterthought on the cleanup verse.

3. Nas "It Ain't Hard to Tell (Large Professor Remix)" (Sony, 1994)

Extra P produced the o.g. which sampled MJ's "Human Nature", and re-fli
pped it hisself loading Biz Markie's classic line I'm highly recognized as the king of disco-and from "Nobody Beats the Biz" into the SP and banging it into Nas, Nas, Nas, Nas is the king of disco-in'. Hip Hop vision at it's finest.

4. The Fugees "Vocab (Refugees Hip Hop Remix)" (Sony, 1994)

It's uncanny how the original versions from their first LP were forgettable but the remixes were career turns. Lauryn goes in on this one and Wyclef goes a little out of his mind.

5. Casual "Later On" (Jive, 1994)
and "Later On (Casual's Low Down Remix)"

Wow, '94 was a really good year for remixes. The best of both worlds on these cuts (gotta include both here for the contrast): the original is cruising on a sunny weekend by Lake Merritt after waking up late, and the remix happens even later on, scraping late night down Macarthur Ave deep in East Oakland looking for trouble.
While the ubiquitous Lil Jon version was both the peak and the end of the now-dead hyphy era, this astounding remix is worth another look. Alameda born-and-raised AfroFilipino guy Trackademicks became a brand with this relick, which transformed the song into an entirely different beast: more Hiero than hyphy, but still futuristic rather than Telegraph Era-nostalgic. Track's got a ton more remixes and beats from the future on his blog, go there.

//I also come from the era when mixing an acapella from one record on top of the instrumental of another live on two turntables was called a Remix or a Blend, not a Mash-Up, and djs have been doing them long before there were hipsters and Ableton Live. A dope blend put
s the vocal in a different context that still works sonically.
I will say no more and refer you directly to this tape (yes, cassette) from the mid-90s for advanced blend science:
DJ 1st Klass - Butter Blends
I thought the Phil Collins "In the Air Tonight" over Deep Cover was a nice touch, take that hipster nation! Big up to who's got a nice collection of "
tape rips." Big shout to everyone who ever made a mixtape using a 4-track recorder! I might just have to go in the garage and get my DJ Apollo and DJ Kiilu mixtapes... and of course gotta throw in one o' my own creations, off Golden Mixes Vol.1 - Soul Sisters & Brothers:
//This all of course leads up to Saturday's GOLDEN, where myself and birthday girl DJ Zita will be selecting the dopest remixes from our shelves as well as concocting live two-turntable blends before your very ears. Say REEMIX!! Also joining us is the homie Bency from San Diego, who is a good dude and one slick deejay. 'Til next time, R.I.P. to rocksteady/reggae pioneer and musical visionary Alton Ellis. 1neluv.^^Me & Bency reppin the fedora/metallic t-shirt set. No we didn't plan that.
Golden Soundscapes wedding photo on the flyer? Yup planned that!


DJ Icewater said...

I remember the first time I heard the bonita applebum 'hootie mix'...It was during the first scene in Poetic Justice where Q-tip is out on a date with Janet Jackson. The song is playing in the background just as Tip gets murked...Hearing Q-tip spit over that Isley loop was probably the best part of that movie.